Thursday, September 2nd, 2021


Abort Mission Accomplished?

The Handmaid's Tale is now eligible to win best documentary. A law written to escape the oversight of the Supreme Court has achieved its goal as a 5-4 majority allowed Texas's anti-abortion law, known as SB 8, to stand. The law isn't just about restricting abortion, it's also about enabling, and even encouraging, financially-based vigilante justice. It's no surprise that a Supreme Court majority built to overturn Roe would lean into the effort. But that this absurd law has been allowed to stand is definitely a shock to the Constitution. I'll let Justice Sonia Sotomayor explain: "In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State's citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors' medical procedures ... Taken together, the Act is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the Constitution, of this Court's precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas ... Today, the Court finally tells the Nation that it declined to act because, in short, the State's gambit worked. ... It cannot be the case that a State can evade federal judicial scrutiny by outsourcing the enforcement of unconstitutional laws to its citizenry." (It's bad enough when men make decisions about women's bodies. It's worse when those men include Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, and Donald Trump.)

+ Vox: Texas's radical anti-abortion law, explained.

+ Joe Biden said his administration would launch a "whole-of-government effort to respond to this decision." (While we're on the topic. Breyer, retire.)

+ In other Texas news, the governor is fighting to make sure schools can't use mask mandates to protect kids, voting rights have been severely limited, and Texans can now openly carry guns in public without a permit or training.


Marlboro Mansions

"Members of the Sackler family who are at the center of the nation's deadly opioid crisis have won sweeping immunity from opioid lawsuits linked to their privately owned company Purdue Pharma and its OxyContin medication. Federal Judge Robert Drain approved a bankruptcy settlement on Wednesday that grants the Sacklers 'global peace' from any liability for the opioid epidemic." The Sacklers, Who Made Billions From OxyContin, Win Immunity From Opioid Lawsuits. (El Chapo should have hired the Sacklers' lawyers.)

+ "It's like someone breaking your knees and then selling you the crutches." WaPo (gift article for ND readers): Philip Morris International cigarettes can cause lung disease. Now the company wants to sell medicine to treat it. (El Chapo should have hired Philip Morris's consultants.)



New Orleans has spent years preparing for storms like Hurricane Ida. NYC wasn't at all prepared for what hit it (because what hit it was so unexpected). Yesterday, I explained that the Caldor fire in California is only the second fire in recorded history to cross from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other. The first was the Dixie that did it just a few weeks ago. Ida similarly smashed a NYC rain record that was set just last month. Apocalyptic is the new normal. AP: "A stunned U.S. East Coast faced a rising death toll, surging rivers, tornado damage and continuing calls for rescue Thursday after the remnants of Hurricane Ida walloped the region with record-breaking rain, filling low-lying apartments with water and turning roads into car-swallowing canals." More than 25 deaths after Ida remnants slam Northeast. The images and videos from NY are insane. And here's a stunning video of a tornado ripping across New Jersey.

+ NPR: NYC's Subway Flooding Isn't A Fluke. It's The Reality For Cities In A Warming World.


Football is Life and Death

"They're just unbelievable young ladies who should be playing in the backyard, playing on the swing set, playing with their friends, and here they're in a very bad situation for doing nothing more than playing soccer." Effort underway to rescue girls soccer team from Afghanistan.

+ Newshour: Biden approval tumbles even though most Americans support Afghanistan exit. (This is what happens when you cover a 20 year war with thousands of US fatalities like an event that started a week ago.)


Marry Making

The minister who married R Kelly and Aaliyah has spoken publicly about it for the first time. (If it wasn't to admit that he's an enabling piece of garbage, I'm not interested. It takes a village to raise a monster like R Kelly.)

+ "From the vantage point of 2021, it is hard to imagine how a sexual-abuse scandal involving two of the biggest names in popular music would not derail the alleged abuser's career. But Kelly thrived as an artist and producer in the years that followed; he would go on to sell a total of more than a hundred million records." The New Yorker: The Focus Finally Turns to Aaliyah, in R. Kelly's Trial.


Joe (Don’t) Blow

"If you're not vaccinated, you shouldn't travel over the long Labor Day weekend. That's the bottom line, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky." Sadly, the unvaccinated are not much for following CDC guidelines. They're more likely to listen to radio hosts like Joe Rogan, the latest man behind a mic to announce that he has Covid, and as a bonus for listeners, he's also been taking Ivermectin. (Ancient humans worried about idol worship. It's idiot worship that's gonna get us.)


Borrowed Time is Now

"The burst in digital borrowing has helped many readers, but it has also accelerated an unsettling trend. Books, like music and movies and TV shows, are increasingly something that libraries and readers do not own but, rather, access temporarily, from corporations that do." The New Yorker: An App Called Libby and the Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books.


Monkey See, Monkey Don’t

"Earl gestured the dot closer to a colorful target zone, just as he had done thousands of times before. This time, he expected a big reward, but instead—time's up." Wired: You're Not Alone: Monkeys Choke Under Pressure Too.


Panic Buying Story Number Two

"Kimberly-Clark, which makes Cottonelle and Scott toilet tissue, and Kleenex, 'is monitoring the situation closely.'" Here we go again: Some shoppers are panic-buying toilet tissue.


Bottom of the News

"The grand slam rule book says players should take a 'reasonable' amount of time, but does not provide an exact number of minutes that would be acceptable. On Wednesday, Tsitsipas took a toilet break that created an eight-minute delay between the end of the third set and start of the fourth." Stefanos Tsitsipas defiant after latest US Open toilet break leads to boos. (This is the ultimate nightmare of every IBS sufferer: Being booed by thousands of people after exiting a public restroom.)

+ Abba reunite for Voyage, first new album in 40 years (and their digital avatars will appear in London concert residency in 2022.)

+ The 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Finalists.